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Germany will not introduce IP data retention but agrees on expedited targeted retention


The German coalition parties have agreed to introduce targeted and ad hoc data preservation rather than indiscriminately retaining information on all internet connections. This political decision represents a fundamental rejection of the principle of blanket data retention of citizen’s communication data and a move towards targeted solutions.

The agreed new power is known as “Quick Freeze” and closely related to what the Court of Justice of the European Union refers to as “expedited retention” in recent judgements e.g. in joined Cases C-793/19 SpaceNet and C-794/19 Telekom Deutschland (PDF). The Quick Freeze draft law of 2022 provides for the storage (freezing) of communication data only on the basis of a suspicion and a court order. The Federal Ministry of Justice is expected to present a new draft for Quick Freeze in the near future.

MEP Patrick Breyer (Pirate Party / Greens/EFA) comments:

„This decision is a success for the civil rights movement, which has been fighting for decades on the streets and in the courts against the idea of blanket collection of the entire population’s contacts, movements and Internet connections. The agreed solution focuses on effective and ad hoc data preservation. A blanket data retention of IP records would have been a frontal attack on our right to use the Internet anonymously, which countless people depend on.

In Germany, in the absence of indiscriminate data retention, the clearance rate for internet offences has just risen significantly to 62% in 2023 (from 57%). It even reaches 87% for prosecuting ‘child pornography’. There is no evidence that countries with data retention programmes have a significantly higher crime clearance rate.

The German coalition agreement is however only a stage victory: the EU is preparing a new attempt to reintroduce EU-wide IP data retention. The EU working group #EUGoingDark, which is preparing an EU-wide reintroduction of data retention, should be disbanded.

As the parliamentary arm of the civil liberties movement, we Pirates will not relent fighting mass surveillance!”